It’s fun to be able to spend time outside when the weather is nice, and we need to do this to get vitamin D from the sunshine. Here are some tips to make sure that you keep children safe in the sun.
Finding the shade
Keeping in the shade is key for children. If no natural shade is available, such as a tree, then use an umbrella or pop up tent.
At home, moving their toys to an area of shade or creating a fun shaded area for them to play in will help them stay safe. Planning ahead is key, so on days out ensure you have suitable clothing like sun hats, umbrellas or tents to provide shade if needed. Remember, the Great British weather is changeable; a dull day in the morning may change into a hot sunny day by midday, so make sure you plan for every eventuality.
Children’s eyes are more sensitive to UV light than adults so ensure they have a pair of wraparound sunglasses.
You need to make sure they are suitable for your child’s age, have 100 % UVA filtration, UVA 400 label and conforms to CE Mark and British Standard (BS EN 1836:1997). Toy glasses are not suitable as they provide no protection and could be harmful.
Check the time
The hottest time of the day is between 11am and 3pm, so plan your day around avoiding the hottest part of the day if you can.
As well as protecting their skin, it’s also important that children drink more when it’s hot. Encourage the intake of extra fluids by offering fruit/salad and ice lollies, as well as drinks.
Staying cool at night
Keep their bedroom cool by keeping blinds and curtains closed through the day. The ideal temperature for a child’s bedroom is between 16°C and 20°C.
When it’s hot, your child won’t need layers of nightclothes on – keep these and bedclothes to a minimum.
Children need high factor sunscreen to be applied regularly; at least two hourly, and more regularly if they’re in and out of a padding pool or the sea, even if the sunscreen says it’s waterproof. Sun screen will also need to be reapplied more regularly if the child is sweating a lot.
The sun screen should protect against UVB and UVA rays and be suitable for the age of the child. Most importantly, sun screen needs to be applied 30 minutes before going outside. Remember that spray sunscreens shouldn’t be sprayed straight onto your child’s face – spray the sunscreen onto your hand and then apply to your child’s face.
The sunscreen used should be at least SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 (UVB protection) and 4 stars (UVA protection). Always check the expiry date of your sunscreen to ensure your sunscreen is in date.